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Best Cellulite Treatments in 2022

by Dr. Nazarian@DoctorNazarian

It is estimated that 80-98% of women have cellulite. Many of these women are concerned enough about the condition to seek treatment to reduce its appearance.

There is no permanent cure for cellulite; however, cosmetic specialists have developed numerous modalities to reduce its appearance. Multiple minimally invasive treatment options, such as Cellfina and QWO, are readily available to diminish unsightly cellulite dimples.

What is Cellulite?

Cellulite is a common skin condition that makes the skin’s surface appear dimpled or lumpy. The dimpling effect results from connective tissue between the skin and underlying muscle that becomes thickened and pulls down on the skin causing a dimple, almost like a tufted couch. Cellulite isn’t harmful, although its appearance may be aggravating and unpleasant.

It affects both men and women, but some are more predisposed to it than others. Less than 10% of men have cellulite, while 80-90% of post-pubescent women show symptoms.

There are four classifications to distinguish the symptoms and severity of cellulite.

  • Grade 0: no visible cellulite accumulation
  • Grade 1: dimples appear when sitting, but the skin is smooth when standing
  • Grade 2: moderate dimples when sitting or standing
  • Grade 3: severe dimples with raised and depressed areas when sitting or standing

Common Sites For Cellulite Appearance

  • Thighs
  • Buttocks

Causes of Cellulite

While the exact causes of cellulite are unknown, its formation revolves around the composition of connective tissues that bind the skin to the underlying muscles and the fat deposits in between.

Fibrous bands of connective tissue sometimes thicken, causing them to tighten irregularly.

Factors that Affect the Appearance of Cellulite

Different factors can play a part in how much cellulite you have and how noticeable it is, including:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Genetic Factors affecting Skin Structure, Skin Texture, and Body Type
  • Age
  • Diet
  • Lifestyle
  • Body Fat Percentage
  • Pregnancy

Cellulite Treatment Options

Recent breakthroughs in aesthetic medicine now provide non-invasive and minimally invasive treatment options to reduce the appearance of cellulite. Cellulite reduction treatments offer long-term results with minimal downtime.

Cosmetic Cellulite Reduction Techniques

Cosmetic specialists use advanced techniques and technologies to help reduce visible dimpling on various body areas. Patients may choose to undergo a single form of cellulite reduction treatment or utilize combination therapy to enhance overall results.

  • Acoustic Wave Therapy: Acoustic wave therapy uses ultrasonic waves to break down fibrous bands of tissue. This treatment allows the fat cells to relax and the body to fall back into a smoother contour.
  • Radiofrequency Treatment: A non-ablative treatment that uses radiofrequency energy to destroy fat cells releasing the connective tissue that causes the skin to dimple. It tightens the skin, increases blood circulation, improves skin appearance, and causes fatty deposits under the skin to drain through the lymphatic system.
  • Laser Treatments: Laser technology treatments deliver heat underneath the skin using a probe or a thin fiber. This heat eliminates the fat beneath the skin and eradicates the fibrous bands binding fat.
  • Vacuum-Assisted Precise Tissue Release: This procedure uses a suction device to pick up the tissue of a cellulite dimple. Small blades then sever rigid bands of connective tissue, eliminating the dimpled appearance. The Microblade, which is vacuum-assisted, oscillates to provide more precision. It is a single-session treatment for cellulite.
  • Subcision: It is a surgical technique that manually cuts the fibrous bands binding the fat. It is a more invasive form of treatment than the above technique described. This form of treatment is dependent on the experience of the practitioner. It works best when combined with other therapies to tighten the skin.

Popular Non-Surgical Cellulite Reduction Treatments

Non-surgical cellulite reduction treatments use various technologies to eliminate the appearance of dimpling. Patients can experience a substantial, long-lasting reduction in dimpling with minimal downtime.

Zimmer Z Wave Therapy

The Zimmer Z Wave therapy works by delivering mild, consistent radial sound waves deep into the tissues. This treatment tightens the skin, improves blood circulation, stimulates lymphatic drainage, and helps reduce visible dimpling.

QWO (Collagenase Clostridium Histolyticum-aaes)

QWO is an FDA-approved non-surgical cellulite reduction treatment. This injectable uses collagenase enzymes to target the structural causes of cellulite. QWO can significantly reduce the appearance of moderate to severe cellulite.

Dermal Fillers: Sculptra Aesthetic

Sculptra is FDA-approved to correct facial volume loss and mild to severe facial wrinkles. Experienced cosmetic professionals have been known to utilize Sculptra off-label, to correct cellulite dimples. Sculptra is a collagen-stimulating dermal filler. Injections will temporarily add volume to dimples, creating a smoother appearance.

Cellfina Cellulite Treatment

Cellfina uses a technique called subcision to target cellulite dimples on the buttocks and thighs. It uses a microblade the size of a needle to break up the connective bands that cause dimples to form. Results from this treatment last up to 3 years.

Evolve Fat Reduction Device

Evolve is a hands-free non-surgical treatment to reduce the appearance of cellulite. This device has one system using multiple technologies to tighten the skin, target fat, and tone muscles. Using a single device, the therapy can simultaneously cover various areas of the body.

Cellulite Treatment: Combination Therapy

Combining two or more highly effective cosmetic cellulite reduction techniques will produce the best results. However, it is essential to consult an experienced practitioner to determine the best course of action for your particular case.

Cellfina Combination Therapies

Cellfina is currently the gold standard for cellulite reduction treatment. It is often combined with alternative cosmetic therapies to enhance overall results.

Cellfina + Sculptra

Sculptra acts as a collagen stimulator made from poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA). Sculptra injections are typically conducted immediately after the Cellfina treatment to help restore the skin’s inner structure and volume.

This combination therapy can smooth the skin’s surface, enhance firmness, and reduce dimpling caused by cellulite.

Cellfina + Microneedling RF

Cellfina treatments may be combined with microneedling RF treatments, such as Morpheus8. Morpheus8 delivers radiofrequency waves deep into the skin to promote the formation of new collagen fibers, enhance subdermal skin tightening, and improve elasticity.

Cellfina + Zimmer Z Wave

The Zimmer Z Wave device can help enhance the results of a Cellfina treatment. This non-surgical therapy delivers high-intensity sound waves into the tissues. The energy spreads radially to improve lymphatic drainage and increase blood flow to the treatment area.

Combining this device with a Cellfina treatment can help break up scar tissue, improve muscle definition, and tighten and smooth the skin’s surface.

QWO Combination Techniques

QWO is a highly effective cellulite reduction technique that provides an exceptional alternative to surgical treatments. This injectable treatment can be combined with fat reduction or body contouring treatments to enhance the overall effects.

QWO + CoolSculpting

Coolsculpting uses fat freezing technology (cryolipolysis) to eliminate stubborn areas of fat. QWO and CoolSculpting can work together to reduce excess fat and cellulite dimples for a smoother appearance with enhanced body contours.

QWO + Evolve Trim

Evolve Trim is a non-invasive cosmetic treatment that uses thermal heat to reshape areas with stubborn fat and cellulite. Combining QWO and Emsculpt NEO can help contour the body and smooth cellulite dimples for a smooth and toned appearance.

QWO + Liposuction

QWO injections may be performed with a liposuction treatment if cellulite dimples are evident. Combining these two procedures can enhance overall results. Liposuction may also be combined with a Cellfina treatment.

How Long Do Cellulite Treatments Last?

Results from cellulite treatments can last between 6 months and three years, depending on the form of treatment you decide to use. Refer to the table below for a comparison of the most popular cosmetic cellulite reduction treatments.

Zimmer Z Wave QWO Sculptra Cellfina Evolve Trim
Invasiveness: Non-invasive Injections Injections Minimally invasive Non-Surgical
Method of Treatment: Acoustic Wave Therapy Injectable Injectable Subcision Radiofrequency
Duration of Results: 1-3 months 1-2 years Up to 15 months 5 or more  years 4-6 months
Downtime: None 2 weeks or more of bruising Bruising possible 24-48 hours None
Recovery time: None None None 1-2 weeks None

Side Effects and Risks of Cellulite Treatment

Cellulite treatments commonly have side effects. Some side effects are more common in some forms of treatment than others.

Side Effects of Non-Surgical Cellulite Treatments

Most patients report little to no side effects from these forms of cellulite treatment. Most side effects described are mild and could include:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tingling Sensation
  • Skin Sensitivity

Side Effects of Surgical Cellulite Treatments

Some initial side effects of surgical cellulite treatments are

  • Redness
  • Inflammation
  • Bruising
  • Discomfort

Other side effects you could notice include

  • Tender Lumps beneath the Skin
  • Infection
  • Allergic Skin Reaction
  • Skin Changes

Topical Treatments

Topical treatments may help decrease the visibility of cellulite but can not eradicate it. The effects may not be long-lasting, and you must apply the product consistently to maintain results if any.

Creams work to tighten the skin, making the skin appear smoother and firmer. They also add moisture to your skin, which helps reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Cellulite creams make use of specific ingredients that help reduce its appearance, such as:

  • Methylxanthines like Caffeine
  • Retinol, a Vitamin A Derivative
  • Ascorbic Acid, or Vitamin C
  • Alpha-Tocopherol, or Vitamin E
  • Aminophylline
  • Botanical Extracts such as Ginkgo, Centella, Pineapple, Quinoa, Yuzu

Popular Topical Cellulite Reduction Products

Home Remedies

You can trust these pocket-friendly options if you want to try natural home remedies for cellulite. Know that the results from these remedies aren’t permanent, and you will have to constantly repeat the process to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Healthy Diet and Exercise

Pairing a healthy diet with 20 minutes of strength training and aerobics 2-3 times a week can reduce cellulite. Adding muscle while losing fat may help make the overlying skin smoother.

Massage

Massaging softens the fibrous bands of tissue, causing the skin to dimple and making the cellulite less noticeable. It also improves lymphatic drainage and blood circulation throughout the body while preventing the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which would increase the appearance of cellulite.

Dry Brushing

Dry brushing is a form of exfoliation that aids in the improvement of blood flow to an area. It reduces inflammation which leads to a reduction in the appearance of cellulite.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Consuming Apple cider vinegar can help with weight loss, reducing the appearance of cellulite. Massaging apple cider vinegar mixed with water on the part of the body affected by cellulite also helps to improve lymphatic drainage around those areas.

Seaweed

Seaweed is a great detoxifying agent for the body. It can be ingested or used as a seaweed bath. It improves the blood flow in cellulite-affected areas, reducing the appearance of cellulite.

Caffeine

The caffeine in coffee scrubs helps dilate blood vessels and improve the appearance of skin dimples. Green tea breaks down fat by stimulating the nervous system to use more energy leading to a reduction in cellulite formation.

Cayenne Pepper

Ingestion of cayenne pepper spikes the body’s metabolism and improves digestion, reducing cellulite severity.

Coconut Oil

Massaging coconut oil into the skin helps tighten, firm, and moisturize the skin, reducing the appearance of cellulite. It also helps break up fatty deposits that push against the skin, causing it to dimple.

Prevention of Cellulite

There is no guaranteed way to prevent cellulite. However, there are ways to help you ‌limit it, such as

  • Eating a Balanced, Healthy Diet
  • Increasing Water Intake
  • Exercising Regularly
  • Detoxifying Your Body Continuously

Cellulite Treatment FAQs

What is the most effective treatment for cellulite?

The Cellfina treatment has shown to be the most effective way to reduce the appearance of cellulite and get smoother, beautiful skin. It is a minimally invasive, efficient treatment to address this skin issue.

Do cellulite treatments really work?

Cellulite treatments work to reduce its appearance and not eliminate it. These treatments make the skin firmer, smoother, and thicker, making the appearance of cellulite less noticeable. Some treatments work to destroy the fibrous bands causing the skin to dimple.

Can you massage away cellulite?

A professional massage can ease tight muscles, improve lymphatic drainage and blood circulation and remove toxic waste throughout the body. This treatment enhances the skin’s appearance, making cellulite less noticeable.

Does dry brushing help cellulite?

Dry brushing uses a soft-bristled brush to exfoliate the skin and stimulate blood flow and the lymphatic system. This form of therapy improves the skin’s appearance and reduces the appearance of cellulite.

Can cellulite on legs go away?

Losing weight and strengthening the muscles can reduce its appearance but not eliminate it. Cosmetic treatments, such as Cellfina and QWO can significantly minimize dimpling on the buttocks and thighs.

Does coconut oil work on cellulite?

Coconut oil can minimize the appearance of cellulite when applied to the skin. Coconut oil tightens, firms, and moisturizes the skin making the characteristic dimpling seen in cellulite-affected areas less noticeable. It also stimulates collagen production, which works to firm the skin.

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